500 Block Duval Street



In this photo from 1922, we're looking south and the Aronowicz and Lewinsky buildings are on the right. Across the trolley tracks, on the opposite side of Duval Street, is the Strand Theater. Built that year by a man named Thompson, the building featured a Spanish tile-lined lobby and frescoes made by Cuban artisans in Key West.

This is also the year that the streetcar era would come to a close in Key West.

Originally mule-drawn, then electric, the streetcars were an integral part of this busy island city. Were we able to compare this photograph with another taken a year later, the rails in the middle of Duval would be gone.

In the modern photo, all three buildings still command the block.




This photograph, taken in 1947, shows the corner of Duval and Southard Streets looking north. The building on the left was built by Jacob Aronowicz around the turn of the last century. Aronowicz was one of a number of Jewish peddlers who had arrived in Key West in the 1880's. Another was Samuel Lewinsky, who built the store on the right. Both were in the dry goods and furniture businesses­ Lewinsky's Men's Store continued to operate until 1987.

As you can see, both buildings still stand, although the roof lines are obscured by trees. As further testament to the successful Jewish businessmen of Key West, the small lane just beyond the Lewinsky store was renamed in honor of one of their compatriots­ it's now known as Appelrouth Lane. Both Mr. Aronowicz and Mr. Appelrouth are buried in the B'Nai Zion section of the Key West cemetery.


High-Resolution Image-1947




By 1952, Duval Street was one-way. There's the Strand on the right (we're looking north,) with the Bahama Club and an Arthur Murray Dance Studio beyond it. The 1950's were heady years for the Strand. World movie premieres would be held there for The Rose Tattoo in 1955 and Carib Gold in 1956. See KWHx issues #14 and #15.

In the contemporary photo it's apparent that, although the Strand is still here, the buildings around it have changed.


High-Resolution Image-1952